Wasps HITZ Programme Ambassador wins award

Wasps' Stanna Shaylor won the Young Ambassador Award at last night's HITZ Awards ceremony in London. 

Through the power of rugby the multi-award winning HITZ programme tackles head on some of the greatest challenges facing young people today like crime, mental health challenges and unemployment.

Last night 15 young people from the Premiership Rugby clubs were honoured, with five emerging as overall winners in their particular categories.

HITZ – which kicked off in 2009 – is delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon. The programme uses rugby to increase young people’s resilience, self-reliance and confidence and gives them the skills to get back into education, apprenticeships and employment.

HITZ, via 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, supports the development of 3,000 targeted young people every year of which 500 young people will have the opportunity to achieve a positive progression into further education training and employment.

Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson – a Land Rover ambassador and long-time supporter of HITZ – headed an impressive list of rugby players past and present who attended the awards to give their support to the HITZ programme.

Robinson was joined on stage by Northampton Saints’ Harry Mallinder and Saracens’ full-back Andrew Fenby alongside GB Wheelchair rugby legend Steve Brown.

Robinson, who won the 2003 World Cup and earned 51 caps for England, presented the Best Rugby Performer Award to Leicester Tigers’ Ryan Driver on behalf of Land Rover, who supports the award.

Robinson said: “I was once in the same situation as many of the youngsters on the HITZ programme and rugby was the motivator for me to turn my life around for the better, just as it is doing for Ryan. The sport has given me so much, not just through playing but meeting the extended rugby family. That is one of the real successes of HITZ; it gives youngsters a support network.

“Land Rover understands rugby and recognises the importance of rewarding the youngsters who are making major changes to their lives through HITZ.”

Tonight’s winners:
·       Community Impact Award, supported by Wooden Spoon. Winner: Jack Clarke of Exeter Chiefs
·       Young Ambassador, supported by Premiership Rugby. Winner: Stanna Shaylor of Wasps
·       Best Rugby Performer, supported by Land Rover. Winner: Ryan Driver of Leicester Tigers
·       HITZ Champion Award, supported by Comic Relief. Winner: Ian Fennell of Sale Sharks
·       HITZ Young Achiever, supported by Barclays. Winner: Kayleigh Simpson of Northampton Saints